MAC Football Championship Game Photo Gallery
VIDEO: Northern Illinois Championship Celebration
VIDEO: Northern Illinois Postgame Press Conference
VIDEO: Kent State Postgame Press Conference
Kent State Postgame Quotes
Kent State Postgame Notes
Northern Illinois Postgame Quotes
Northern Illinois Postgame Notes
Northern Illinois 44, Kent State 37 (2OT)
DETROIT, Mich. -- Northern Illinois won its second consecutive Marathon MAC Football Championship with a thrilling 44-37 win in double overtime over Kent State.
In overtime, Kent State took the first possession and kicker Fred Cortez nailed a 33-yard field goal. Northern Illinois had to settle for a Mathew Sims 40-yard field goal to knot the score, 37-37. In the second overtime period, the Huskies scored in two plays as Jordan Lynch scored from six yards for a touchdown for the 44-37 lead. Kent State could not convert on a fourth and eight from the nine-yard line as the Huskies celebrated the victory.
Defense dominated early in this contest between East Division champion Kent State and West Division champion Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois was forced to two consecutive three and outs, while Kent State did the same in their first two possessions.
Special teams for Kent State made the first big play as Huskies punt returner Angelo Sebastiano fumbled at his 22-yard line and Kent State's Darius Polk recovered to give the Flashes the games first big turnover. Three plays later running back Dri Archer ran right for a 15 yard touchdown run to give the Flashes the early 7-0 lead with 8:57 left in the first quarter.
On the Flashes next possession, Kent State senior kicker Fred Cortez nailed a 37-yard field goal for the early 10-0 lead with 5:06 left in the opening frame.
Northern Illinois responded with the next 17 consecutive points. The Huskies got on the board late in the first quarter with a 14-play, 65 yard drive capped by a 27-yard field goal by Mathew Sims to cut the Flashes lead to 10-3 with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. The Huskies added a touchdown on their next possession as quarterback Jordan Lynch orchestrated a seven play, 89-yard drive capped with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Martel Moore to tie the contest, 10-10 with 11:03 left in the second quarter. The momentum continued with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Akeem Daniels to give the Huskies their first lead of the night, 17-10, at the 5:53 mark of the second quarter.
Kent State opened the second half scoring with a 24-yard field goal by Cortez, his second field goal of the night, to cut the Huskies lead to 17-13 with 10:46 in the third quarter.
Northern Illinois responded with a one-yard touchdown run by Lynch to extend the lead, 24-13, at the 7:26 of the third quarter. The Huskes added on another Sims field goal, his second of the night, this one from 29 yards to open a 27-13 lead at the 2:38 mark of the third quarter.
Kent State rallied late in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns in 15 seconds to tie the game, 27-27, with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Spencer Keith scored from five-yards out to cut the Huskies lead to 27-20 with 4:53 left in regulation, then right end Zach Hitchens picked up a fumble and ran 22-yard for a touchdown to tie the game with 4:38 left.
The Huskies answered with a four-play scoring drive that took only 1:26 off the clock with a nine-yard touchdown run to regain the Northern Illinois lead, 34-27, with 3:12 left in the fourth quarter.
The Flashes weren't finished as Keith found fullback Tim Erjavec for a 19-yard touchdown pass to tie the game, 34-34, with 44 seconds left in regulation.